General Election Manifesto Digest: Employment

With the snap election just around the corner, business and individuals alike will be wondering how the next Government plans to respond to the changing employment landscape.

We’ve pulled together a brief summary of the election’s three front-runners to help you compare policies on all things work-related, from zero-hour contracts to the Apprenticeship levy.

2017 Election Manifesto digest



Liberal aaaDemocratsaaa

Hours & Pay

Ban zero hours contracts

Four new bank holidays a year

Raise minimum wage to living wage (expected to be £10 an hour by 2020)

End the public sector pay cap

Rollout maximum pay ratios through an ‘excessive pay levy’

Ban unpaid internships

Strengthen the law so that those working regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have a right to a regular contract

Increase the National Living Wage (minimum wage) to 60% of median earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings

Legislate to make executive pay packages subject to strict annual votes by shareholders

Require listed companies to publish the ratio of executive pay to broader UK workforce pay

Pay a living wage in all central government departments and review how to set this wage across all sectors

Require larger employers to publish the number of people paid less than the living wage and the ratio between top and median pay

Stamp out abuse of zero-hours contracts and create a formal right to request a fixed contrac

Explore a right to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time


Workers’ rights


Create new Ministry of Labour to improve workers’ rights

Repeal Trade Union Act and introduce "sectoral collective bargaining" through unions

Stop employers from only recruiting from overseas

Ensure all workers to have access to trade union

Make terminal illness a protected characteristic under the Equality Act

Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time, full-time, temporary or permanent, so that working conditions are not driven down

Ensure people working in the ‘gig’ ecomomy are properly protected

Help all workers seeking to develop their skills in their existing jobs by introducing a new right to request leave for training for all employees

Help all workers to stay in secure jobs through a training scheme which employers can fund through the Apprenticeship Levy

Modernise employment rights to make them fit for the age of the ‘gig’ economy.

Strengthen enforcement of employment rights and scrap employment tribunal fees.


Maternity, paternity and family

Double paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay

Strengthen protection for women on maternity leave

Explore introducing statatury bereavement leave, for time off work after the loss of close family members

Support companies to take on parents and carers returning to work after long periods of absence

Right to child bereavement leave

New right to care for sick relatives full-time

Give an additional month’s paid paternity leave to fathers.


Maintain the apprenticeship levy and ensure high quality

Double the number of completed apprenticeships at NVQ level 3 by 2022

Give employers more flexibility in how the levy is deployed, including allowing the levy to be used for pre-apprenticeship programmes

Guarantee trade union representation in the governance structures of the Institute of Apprenticeships

Protect the £440 million funding for apprenticeships for small-and medium-sized employers who don’t pay the levy

Increase apprenticeships for people with disabilities, care leavers and veterans, and ensure broad representation of women, BAME, LGBT and people with disabilities in all kinds of apprenticeships

Establish new institutes of technology, backed by employers and linked to universities, in every major city in England to provide higher-level apprenticeships and bespoke courses for employers

Deliver previous commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020

Allow large firms to pass levy funds to their supply chain, and develop a new programme to allow larger firms to place apprentices in their supply chains

Explore teaching apprenticeships sponsored by major companies, especially in STEM subjects

Introduce a UCAS-style portal for technical education

Discounted bus and train travel for apprentices


Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices by extending apprenticeships to growing sectors

Develop national colleges as centres of expertise for key sectors

Increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors and encourage under-represented groups to apply

Expand higher vocational training such as foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher Apprenticeships

Ensure that all the receipts from the Apprenticeship Levy in England are spent on training, aiming to fund a wider range of types of training

Employment support 

Reform Universal Credit, ending the six week delay in payment

Increase Employment Support Allowance (ESA) by £30 for people in the limited capacity for work group

Scrap benefit sanctions

Pledge to get 1 million more disabled people into work over the next ten years.

Offer one year holiday on National Insurance Contributions for employers recruiting former wards of the care system, someone with a disability, those with chronic mental health problems, those who have committed a crime, and those who have been unemployed for over a year.

Reverse cuts to Work Allowances in Universal Credit, enabling people to work for longer before their benefits are cut.


Find out more about what the main parties are promising:



Liberal Democrats